End in Sight for Caltrans West Shore Work


Caltrans has wrapped up its road construction for the season. The work between Tahoma and Tahoe City is only 10 percent from its completion and Road and Highway Builders, LLC, expect to finish the $70.1 million project by early next season. The $25 million project along the five-mile stretch of Highway 89 from the Y intersection with U.S. Highway 50 in South Lake Tahoe to Cascade Road has added curbs, gutters, sidewalks, and drainage systems. Another $13 million project on Cascade Road along Emerald Bay to the Eagle Falls viaduct was also completed over the summer, which included modifications to improve water quality and resurfacing the roadway. Also completed was the $50 million Placer County water quality and streetscape project on Highway 28 in Kings Beach.

Next construction season will bring the Fanny Bridge replacement project. The $30.1 million contract, which also includes building the Dollar Hill shared-use path adjacent to Highway 28, was awarded to Martin Brothers Construction and is slated to wrap up by summer 2018.

ASC Training Center Hosts SuperTour Stop in January


Auburn Ski Club (ASC) will host the fourth stop of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s annual SuperTour at their training center in January. The series, sanctioned by the International Ski Federation (FIS), features cross-country ski races across the U.S. and includes leading athletes from across the country.

“As the top cross-country racing venue in the Western U.S., we have already played host to numerous high-level events and national championships over the years, including a SuperTour stop in 2013. This summer we built out a new FIS homologated 5 km course, which makes us an even more desirable venue for world class races such as this,” said ASC Training Center’s Executive Director Bill Clark.

Give Back Tahoe


The Give Back Tahoe Giving Guide is back for its third year, continuing from now through Dec. 31. It includes 62 participating local nonprofits in a collective giving campaign, and donations can be made to the organization of your choice on the guide’s website. The Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (TTCF), Sierra Sun, and 101.5 KTKE are the main partners for the fundraising effort. Included are $45,000 in Challenge Grants and more than $200,000 in matching funds, so a donation of $25 can help local nonprofits earn thousands more. Info: givebacktahoe.org

Districts Partner for Milfoil Eradication


Eurasian Milfoil has spread to Lake Tahoe’s North Shore, and the North Tahoe Public Utility District has partnered with Tahoe Resource Conservation District to eradicate the pesky aquatic plant. The NTPUD staff has erected a protective fence around the area where they will be placing mats and removing the milfoil by hand, and requests that the public respect these boundaries. They have been tracking the eradication plan in the South Lake Tahoe Keys, where they are moving toward a combination of hand and mechanized methods for removal, and herbicides may be used as well. The Keys project has been ongoing for the last 25 years and introduced the idea of herbicides in August 2015. A presentation on the state of the Tahoe Vista milfoil will take place at NTPUD’s Dec. 8 board meeting.

Gustafson Named General Manager of the Year


Cindy Gustafson of the Tahoe City Public Utility District was named General Manager of the Year by the California Special Districts Association at their annual conference in October. The award is open to all of California’s 328 special districts and is based on exceptional experience, effectiveness, and leadership in his or her district. Gustafson has been with the district for 25 years, and has held the position of general manager since 2008. During that time, her work with local, regional, state and federal agencies has allowed the district to secure more than $35 million in capital grant funding, $14.5 million since her appointment as general manager. She has also helped the district to improve its financial position, increase transparency standards, set policy to ensure the future needs of the district are met, and implement a new strategic plan.

MAP, Sierra Watch File Martis Valley West Lawsuit


Following Placer County Board of Supervisors 4-1 approval of the Martis Valley West Project, Mountain Area Preservation (MAP), Sierra Watch, and League to Save Lake Tahoe filed a suit Nov. 10 to overturn the board’s decision.

“The Martis Valley West proposal poses a direct threat to Lake Tahoe and its famous clarity. For years, our groups have attempted to collaborate with the developers and Placer County to find a solution that protects the lake,” said Darcie Goodman Collins, PhD, executive director of the League to Save Lake Tahoe. “Asking the courts to enforce the law is a last resort, but the developers have done nothing to address their project’s threats to Tahoe.”

The project includes 760 residential units and a 6.6-acre commercial space. The environmental groups argue that, among other things, the estimated 1,394 added car trips daily would exacerbate local traffic and seriously damage lake clarity. Read more here.

Regulating Cannabis in Unincorporated Placer County


Limited indoor and outdoor personal cannabis cultivation was approved on Nov. 22 by the Placer County Board of Supervisors in a 4-0 vote. The ordinance could theoretically be effective by Jan. 6 if no changes are made in its next two readings. The ordinance is part of a two-phase effort by the county to simultaneously approve personal use and ban commercial use of cannabis, while ensuring the public is educated about the do’s and don’ts being written out by the county. The new ordinance is consistent with the 1996 Proposition 215 Compassionate Use Act, 2015 Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, and the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act, also known as Proposition 64. Proposition 64 was the Nov. 9 ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana for persons aged 21 years or older under state law and to establish certain sales and cultivation taxes. Although the state law did pass, the sale and subsequent taxation of recreational marijuana will not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2018. Read more here.

Ice Rink Grand Opening


Tahoe City Public Utility District will hold a grand opening of the new Tahoe City Ice Rink at the Tahoe City Golf Course on Dec. 10 at 1 p.m., including free skating and skate rentals from 2 to 6 p.m. The opening will coincide with the opening of Café Xenon, also at the golf course, a new restaurant with an international, eclectic menu. The cafe will open its doors to provide lunch, dinner, and a full bar for the duration of the ice rink’s opening. The seasonal ice rink will be erected every winter on the sixth hole of the golf course. It measures 50 by 80 feet, roughly the same size as a standard high school basketball court, and will host mainly recreational skating and both youth and adult events. The grand opening is a free entry event.

Tahoe Public Art Names Its First Executive Director


After a thorough three-month search Tahoe Public Art’s board of directors is thrilled to announce Mia Hanak as the organization’s first executive director. A proven leader with more than 15 years of experience, Hanak has an outstanding track record of delivering public environmental art exhibitions and installations worldwide. Prior to moving to Lake Tahoe in 2015, Hanak was the executive director for environmental art organizations serving the San Francisco Bay Area and the international community through traveling exhibitions with the United Nations. The TPA board is confident that Hanak’s experience in exhibition design, strategic planning, nonprofit management, public programming, educational outreach, communications initiatives, social media activation, and fundraising make her a perfect fit to lead the implementation of TPA’s long-term strategic plan, with her results-driven, collaborative leadership style. Read more here.

Squaw Partners With Alpenglow Expeditions


Lift-accessed backcountry tours at Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows will be offered by Alpenglow Expeditions during the 2016/2017 season. The guiding company recently received a U.S. Forest Service (USFS) permit to conduct winter backcountry guiding on USFS lands, following an extensive application process. The partnership also includes a donation by Alpenglow and Squaw of $2,500 to the Sierra Avalanche Center to support their mission to inform and educate the public about backcountry avalanche conditions in the greater Lake Tahoe area. On the Alpine side Alpenglow will be touring the region known as Munchkins to the north east of Scott Peak, and on the Squaw side it will be venturing to the area known as Tram Ridge to the north of Broken Arrow.

New Truckee Hotel Meeting Postponed Until December


The hearing for a new Truckee hotel and associated apartment buildings has been continued to a special planning commission meeting on Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. in council chambers at 10183 Truckee Airport Road. The Coburn Crossing project, which was originally scheduled for a Nov. 15 hearing, proposes a 71,090 square foot 114-room Springhill Suites by Marriot hotel, and five three-story work force apartment buildings with 138 rental units (33 studios, 54 one-bedroom units, 42 two-bedroom units, and nine three-bedroom units) and common amenities. A total of 350 parking spaces is also proposed; 121 allocated to the hotel and 229 to the apartments. The developer is Triumph Development, based in Bethesda, Md. Read more here.

Placer County Supervisors Approve Tahoe Basin Area Plan


In a special meeting on Dec. 6 in Kings Beach, the Placer County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the Tahoe Basin Area Plan. The plan outlines how the county will achieve environmental restoration goals for Lake Tahoe and set land-use regulations for Placer County’s portion of the Tahoe Basin for the next 20 years. The board also approved the 118-unit Tahoe City Lodge project, which will be the first undertaking developed using the regulatory provisions outlined in the area plan and recommended certification of the joint environmental review document. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Governing Board is tentatively scheduled to take up the plan at its Jan. 25 and 26, 2017 meeting. The county and TRPA have spent the last several years coordinating the preparation of the plan to ensure it conforms to the TRPA Regional Plan, which encompasses the entire Tahoe Basin. Read more here.